Hitchcock, The Artist Essay

1292 words - 6 pages

Hitchcock, The Artist
     “Shadow of a Doubt” was one of those movies I would flip right past if it happened to be on television. If I knew that it was a Hitchcock film, perhaps I’d pause for a few seconds to see if it looked scary. If it didn’t captivate me within those few seconds, I’d cruise right by until I found MTV. But, being somewhat forced to watch “Shadow of a Doubt” in class, I had no choice other than to buckle down and pay attention. I was pleasantly surprised. I expected some twists and turns, since it is an Alfred Hitchcock film. I didn’t expect the suspense or the romance. It was surprisingly entertaining in both plot ...view middle of the document...

It's what separated him from any other director of suspense: he knew the secret to scaring people was preying on real human emotions (1). His subtlety is what took “Shadow of a Doubt” from an everyday movie to an intricate thriller.
     Movies of the past had a different approach to scaring the audience. In the 20th century, scary movies were more than entertainment. They were designed to lure the viewer into buying the action figures and tee shirts that the movie had spawned. They gave you nightmares. They used computer-enhanced special effects that took years to complete. They used robots as actors. The movies of the past were based more on cinematography and their musical scores. People evaluated the dialogue and acting. The plots were more than just ideas thrown together to create a feasible story. They were creative tales crafted by writers with more than just success in mind. Action was not needed to keep the audience’s attention in “Shadow of a Doubt.” In fact, the film was very mild mannered in the action department, and it opted to work with the suspense of humanity rather than the suspense of easy thrills (1). Hitchcock knew in order to be scary, he had to be able to enter the viewer’s mind and find their weakness. This personalization and concentration on affecting the viewer is another way “Shadow of a Doubt” is a “work of art”.
     “Shadow of a Doubt” seemed to be about a murder running from the law. But, for those who wished to dig a little deeper, you could see that it is wholly more about the uncanny relationship between Uncle Charlie and young Charlie, his ill-fated niece. Young Charlie herself said that she and her uncle were “like twins.” They shared a strange way of communicating, which at times seemed totally inappropriate and weird. Young Charlie was able to see into her uncle’s mind in a way that she would soon regret. When she felt bored and wished for some action, Uncle Charlie appeared on the train. Then, Uncle Charlie hid a portion of the newspaper that contained an incriminating news story, and Charlie knew he was up to no good. When young Charlie discovered that her uncle was, in fact, the “Merry Window Strangler”, he somehow knew that she was onto him. Uncle Charlie pleaded for Charlie to help him escape anonymously because they “are no ordinary uncle and niece”. In the end, young Charlie knew that her uncle was going to harm her the minute she stepped on the train. But, Charlie ended up committing the ultimate sacrifice: saving herself and ending the life of the formerly beloved Uncle Charlie. The relationship between...

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